Local Control Remains Key to SGMA’s Success as Act Notches 10th Year

  • by Dave Eggerton
  • Apr 19, 2024
  • Voices on Water

Signed into law during a severe drought, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act turns 10 this year during a much wetter period. In a way, that perfectly illustrates why SGMA was necessary and what it will take to achieve its goals.

Since 2014, I’ve seen SGMA as a water agency General Manager and now as this association’s Executive Director, leading a team of highly skilled advocates working on your behalf in Sacramento. SGMA and groundwater sustainability counts among our top priorities.

ACWA supported SGMA’s creation contingent on making local control its central tenet. And we’re continuing to emphasize the need to empower local agencies. We need to ensure they have the time and resources to implement effective and realistic plans that achieve sustainability, but not at the cost of wiping out local economies. That’s easier said than done; however, seeing the incredible investments made by Groundwater Sustainability Agencies, GSAs, over the past few years offer cause for hope.

Our colleagues in state government, in the Department of Water Resources, have invested a tremendous amount of energy on both a financial and personal scale into building relationships with GSAs. Through collaboration, so much has been accomplished and continues to be accomplished, with innovative on-farm recharge projects, plans to store more water above-and- below ground, as well restore conveyance capacity. All of this depends heavily on momentum, a force dependent on mutual trust, shared interests and aligned perspectives.

Given the immensity of SGMA’s task, problems along the way are a given. It took us more than 100 years to get to a point where dry wells, overdrafted basins and canal-cracking land subsidence demanded action. 

In the meantime, ACWA’s advocacy continues its focus on empowering agencies at the local level. It is why we submitted a comment letter late last year articulating why the State Water Resources Control Board must take a more logical approach to using probationary control of agencies as a backstop. 

For example, the letter calls for developing a process by which a basin could submit a revised GSP that addresses deficiencies before a probationary hearing. Even more importantly, the letter called for a focus on implementing SGMA as written without expanding its scope to include other Board priorities. Most years also see a few bills introduced in the Legislature that seek to tinker with SGMA in various ways. In other words, give SGMA an opportunity to work as originally intended.

The growing wet and dry extremes of climate change serve as a warning that we must act now to empower our local water managers in implementing SGMA. We must move forward in aligning our investments and regulatory environment to realize projects that capture more water from high-flow events for the benefit of communities currently relying on overdrafted groundwater basins.

As SGMA closes out its first decade, ACWA is committed to helping empower our member agencies to act, and succeed, locally.

Suggested Resources

15 RESOURCES prev next
ACWA 2024 Spring Conference Attorney Programs

Presentations from the Attorney Programs held during ACWA’s 2024 Spring Conference & Expo May 7-9 in Sacramento are available below. […]

ACWA 2024 Spring Conference Committee Meeting Resources

Resources for ACWA Committee Meetings held during ACWA’s 2024 Spring Conference & Expo are available below.  Agriculture Committee Agenda Work […]

Priority Issues Bulletin

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Regulatory Roundup

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

ACWA Climate Change Policy Principles

Climate change impacts in California are occurring, with substantial further effects likely to emerge through this century. Climate change impacts […]

ACWA’s Infrastructure Bond Priorities

Adapting to climate change requires California to urgently and significantly rehabilitate and modify existing water facilities, improve operational flexibility, and […]

Coalition Letter: Proposed Rule for Principles, Requirements and Guidelines for Water Resources

To: Acting Director for Policy and Legislation, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army Subject: Agency Proposed Rule for Specific […]

2024 Water Awareness Month Toolkit

Sorry, but only ACWA members have permission to view this content. Member login is required.

Southern California Steelhead Status Review Submission to Commission

Agency: California Fish and Game Commission Subject: California Department of Fish and Wildlife Southern California Steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) Status Review Submission […]

Proposed Making Conservation a California Way of Life Regulation Comment Letter

Agency: State Water Resources Control Board Subject: Comment Letter – Proposed Making Conservation a California Way of Life Regulation Letter excerpt: […]

Quench Toolkit Spring 2024

ACWA is encouraging member agencies to utilize these resources to take advantage of ACWA’s QuenchCA campaign branding and provide broader […]

2023 Year In Review

ACWA’s “2023 Year in Review” outlines ACWA’s advocacy wins, awards and services provided to members, as well as events and […]

Groundwater Awareness Week 2024 Toolkit

ACWA encourages member agencies to participate in National Groundwater Awareness Week March 10-16 to raise the public’s awareness of groundwater […]

Dam Safety Fact Sheet

ACWA, along with the California Municipal Utilities Association and California Alliance for Jobs, has released a Dam Safety Fact Sheet, […]

Making Conservation a CA Way of Life Fact Sheet – January 2024

  ACWA’s Making Conservation a California Way of Life Fact Sheet provides a summary of the State Water Board’s draft regulatory […]

Suggested News

15 Articles prev next
Local District Ranks Highest in the State for its Water Replenishment Efforts

OXNARD – As part of California’s 2024 Semi-Annual Groundwater Conditions Update, the California Department of Water Resources highlighted United Water […]

Westlands Water District Awarded $25 Million Federal Grant to Fund Drought Projects

FRESNO – Today, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) awarded $81 million in grant funding through the federal Inflation Reduction […]

WVWD Welcomes New Director of Engineering

RIALTO — West Valley Water District (WVWD) is pleased to announce the selection of Rocky Welborn, a seasoned water professional […]

CCWD Secures an Additional $11.2 Million in Federal Funding

The Calaveras County Water District (CCWD) secured $11.2 million from the Army Corps of Engineers (Army Corps) in the 2024 […]

Rancho Water Appoints Jason Martin as Interim General Manager

TEMECULA — The Board of Directors of the Rancho California Water District (Rancho Water/District) has approved the appointment of Jason Martin […]

Analysis Shows Delta Conveyance Project Benefits Far Exceed Costs

SACRAMENTO – Today, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) released a benefit-cost analysis for the Delta Conveyance Project that finds the infrastructure modernization […]

Loveland Reservoir serves as vital resource in fighting recent fire

Chula Vista – Early yesterday afternoon, a fire broke out near Sweetwater Authority’s (Authority) Loveland Reservoir in Alpine, CA. Authority […]

Salton Sea Authority Announces FY24 Funding for Salton Sea Feasibility Study

Today, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) released its FY24 Work Plan which included an additional $3,878,000 in funding […]

West Valley Water District Receives Award for Budget Presentation Excellence

RIALTO – West Valley Water District (WVWD) is proud to announce that it has been honored with the Distinguished Budget […]

Riverside County Supports Multi-Agency Effort to Bolster Groundwater

BEAUMONT – San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency, San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District (SBVMWD) and South Mesa Water Company (SMWC) […]

Governor Addresses ACWA Spring Conference Attendees

During a surprise appearance at the 2024 ACWA Spring Conference & Expo in Sacramento, Gov. Gavin Newsom addressed climate change […]

MVWD Awards Water Scholarships to Two Montclair High School Seniors

MONTCLAIR – The Monte Vista Water District (MVWD) Board of Directors awarded Zoey Bahena and Denia Maldonado-Dominguez of Montclair High […]

Water Leaders County-Wide Partner on Advanced Firefighting System

BEAUMONT – San Gorgonio Pass Water Agency (SGPWA) will coordinate a Heli-Hydrant project alongside several local water districts to bolster […]

MWDOC Announces Winners of the 2024 Water Awareness Poster Contest

The Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC) is excited to announce the winners of the 2024 MWDOC Water Awareness […]

ACWA Honors East Valley Water District for its Innovative Wastewater Treatment Facility

SACRAMENTO – The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) today presented the prestigious Clair A. Hill Water Agency Award for […]